I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published July 1st 2014
Unique Murray River Crossing
When I think "ferry" I think Spirit of Tasmania, Sydney Harbour ferries or even the famous 'Ferry Across the Mersey' but the Wymah Ferry? No never heard of it. That was until I recently ventured into Victoria's far northeast, beyond the high country and along the shores of Lake Hume. That's when I came across this local landmark, or is that a water-mark?
The Wymah ferry en-route to the Victorian shore of Lake Hume
There's been a ferry operating in this area since the latter half of the 1800's linking Wymah on the New South Wales shore with Granya on the Victorian side at a time when both those hamlets were relatively important service centres for the local sheep and cattle stations.
The cable-ferry has operated in its present location since 1934 and the crossing became slightly longer in 1936 when the Hume Dam was completed, backing up water in the Murray Valley for 90 kilometres and creating the largest water storage in Australia.
Unloading on the Victorian side
Over the years six craft have operated the Wymah Ferry Service, the latest making its maiden voyage on 20th May 2013 and introducing a new 30 tonne capacity compared with the 10 tonnes of its predecessor.
That vessel, the "Spirit of Wymah' had commenced services in 1946 and survived a sinking in 2003 which left it out of service for 5 months and requiring an extensive restoration, including a new engine.
The sealed surface ends abruptly on the NSW shore, home port of the Wymah Ferry
One of only two publicly operated ferries still crossing the Murray between New South Wales and Victoria the Wymah Ferry is a quaint novelty for visitors but a money saving lifeline for locals who would face an 85 kilometre drive downstream or 120 kilometres upstream if the crossing was not available.
A call on the intercom from the Victorian side results in a prompt "I'll be right over..."
The Wymah Ferry operates 7 days a week 6 AM to 9 PM September to April and 7 AM to 8 PM May to August. There are no services on the first Wednesday of the month between 9 AM and midday.
The service is free and the present vessel is capable of carrying 3 cars but is not suitable for caravans. Crossing time is 6 minutes.